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The Guilty One


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Deeply psychological and suspenseful, The Guilty One is already an international phenomenon and one of the most talked-about books of the year.

About the Author

Lisa Ballantyne was born in Armadale, West Lothian, Scotland and was educated at Armadale Academy and University of St Andrews. She spent most of her twenties working and living in China, before returning to the UK in 2002, to work in Higher Education. She lives in Glasgow; this is her first novel.


[a] moving, insightful debut . . . It's easy to see why this caused such a stir at Frankfurt last year. If it isn't this year's Before I Go To Sleep, I'll eat my laptop - The GuardianOne of the most readable, emotionally intense novels of the year, and a debut one at that. Lisa Ballantyne pulls off the key writer's trick of getting us to care about the characters; by the end of the first chapter, you will be comprehensively on the hook - Richard from Richard and Judy?s Book Club, Autumn 2012 PickThis is an outstanding work of fiction, and the real crime would have been if the talent of Lisa Ballantyne had never been discovered - Daily RecordThought provoking, brave and challenging, this book is an unsettling and compulsive read - Rosamund Lupton, bestselling author of Sister and AfterwardsFast-paced and emotionally charged, we were tearing through it well into the night. Keep a tissue handy - you'll be a wreck by the end - Emerald StreetA mature, gripping book you'll be desperate to tell your friends about - Big Issue (Scotland)The Guilty One will touch your heart even as it leaves you unsettled - Hallie Ephron, author of There Was an Old Woman

A child-on-child murder drives Ballantyne's searing debut, a psychological legal thriller. Because solicitor Daniel Hunter, an experienced defender of children accused of crimes, was a troubled child himself, he connects with his disturbed client, 11-year-old Sebastian Croll, who's on trial for beating to death eight-year-old Ben Stokes in a London park. Alternating flashbacks of Daniel's youth as a fatherless foster child of a drug-addicted mother given by social workers to eccentric, perceptive, and loving Minnie Flynn demystify Daniel's rejection of Minnie, who both hurt him and saved him from Sebastian's fate or worse. Meanwhile, the truth about Sebastian and his arguably overdrawn dysfunctional family gradually emerges. Drawn with ruthless realism, Ballantyne's sympathetic major characters, especially Daniel and Minnie, leap from her pages into readers' hearts. Ballantyne also indicts the British government's stingy refusal to fund genuine rehabilitation of juvenile offenders in this scalding exploration of childhood violence, adult refusal to forgive, and redemptive love. Agent: Nicola Barr, Greene & Heaton (U.K.). (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Ballantyne's debut novel is a psychological exploration of two damaged children. One is 11-year-old Sebastian, who has been charged with the murder of his eight-year-old friend Ben. The other is his lawyer, Daniel Hunter, who as a child survived a series of foster homes and thought he'd found a safe place when he was adopted by his last foster mother, Minnie. But something went horribly wrong and Daniel hasn't seen Minnie in years. When he learns that she has died, Daniel is thrown into a guilty tailspin. And as he pursues a defense for Sebastian, he can't help identifying with this strange, and sometimes scary, boy who reminds him of the angry, lost child he once was. VERDICT Though the novel opens with a murder, the legal case that follows is not really the point. The suspense comes in the exploration of just what went wrong in Daniel's past. Ballantyne hits some strong emotional beats, and fans of Vanessa Diffenbaugh's The Language of Flowers will find much to like here. [See Prepub Alert, 9/27/12.]-Jane Jorgenson, Madison P.L., WI (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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